London Skolars prepare for a stern test

15th May 2015

This Sunday at 3pm London Skolars welcome the formidable Cumbrian outfit Barrow Raiders to White Hart lane. The game promises to be a very good barometer of the Skolars progression this season under the guidance of new head coach Jermaine Coleman.

Barrow Raiders make the mammoth journey from the north on the back of a significant 30-18 win against fellow promotion competitors Oldham RLFC last weekend. The club currently sit fifth in the table with three victories to date, the other two from this season coming against South Wales and Swinton respectively. They have also suffered three defeats, which symbolise just how competitive and unpredictable the League 1 competition is. Their three losses came at the hands of Rochdale, Newcastle and North Wales Crusaders all rivals for that top spot and favourable play-off berths. Their form has been somewhat dependant on the provision of players from the club they have dual registration with, the Leigh Centurions, at times this year the club have been able to call upon established championship players such as Cameron Pitman and Anthony Bate, both played significant roles In Leigh’s exceptional season in 2014. The Skolars squad will be excited to test themselves against some of the best players in the division and discover how they fare in comparison.

Skolars enter into this game after a close, disappointing loss to Oxford RLFC. The loss can largely be attributed to an absolutely horrific first half start, where due to a high error count the side found themselves largely starved of possession and forced to defend for an excessive period of time and facing a 28 point deficit. The team will however, be encouraged by their second half performance which saw marked improvement from the first, the players applied the game plan far better and this was reflected on the scoreboard as the Skolars won the second half 24-10.

In terms of selection news the squad is relatively similar to the previous week, except for a trio of welcome additions, the first is a returnee, with Harvey Burnett overcoming an illness to take his place back in the side. The second, Oscar Thomas, on duel registration from Broncos will once again wear the Skolars colours having previously gracing New River with his strong passing game at half back. He will be looking to link up with Mike Bishay in the Halves to really lead this team around the park and control the outcome of this game. Thirdly, an extremely exciting prospect is Billy Driver (pictured). Driver is a new signing for the 2015 season and arrives with a decent pedigree in both codes of rugby, he played for London Bronco’s (then Harlequins RL) from foundation age group right through to under 20’s before transitioning to rugby union. There he appeared for reputable clubs Barking RUFC and Southend RUFC, even making an appearance for Wasps A side. Fans should be sure to look out for his exceptional acceleration around the ruck as well as his sparkling footwork.

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